SIS Visite Perugia e Assisi!

Posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 by Mike Manchester

Ciao Visitatori SIS!

This past weekend was perfect to travel to the beautiful Assisi and Perugia. The weather only added to the effect. The temperature has finally dropped! The first stop was Assisi, where the group was able to explore The Papal Basilica of St. Francis. We were given the opportunity to walk around and examine the sites of one of the most meaningful places in Italy! The landmark was definitely a special place to visit!

Off to the Chocolate factory in Perugia, where the smell of chocolate was absolutely intoxicating! Greeted by a brief chocolate making demonstration, we were able to snack on some chocolate before heading into the factory. It was awesome to see different types of chocolate everywhere, especially a gigantic Bacio!

“A Bacio in front of a Bacio,” says Emma.

I’d say the coolest part of the visit was to see all of the famous monuments in Italy made only of chocolate!

Addio per Ora!

– Alexandra Vigliarolo

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New Student Blogger

Posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Mike Manchester

Ciao a tutti!  We have a new student blogger this semester.  I present Alexandra Vigliarolo from Siena College.

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La Festa Della Repubblica

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 by Mike Manchester

Ciao a tutti!  Today is the Festa Della Repubblica here in Italy.  After World War II, the Italian people were faced with a choice:  To vote to keep a monarchy, or to vote for a republic.  I think that given the name of the holiday, the outcome of that vote is obvious.

Before I get to what’s happening currently here at SIS, I’ll sum up what has already happened since last I wrote.  First of all, here are two pictures of our groups that just left.  Best of luck to all of you in whatever you do!  You are all missed, but I’m sure that you’ll come back and visit us.  You’re always welcome!

LC 2011 (classy)

The rest of Spring 2011 (with Carlo!)


Right after our Spring semester ended there was no time to rest.  Our first Intercultural Horizons conference was just 5 days after the end of the semester.  I’m happy to report that everything exceeded our own high expectations.  People came from all over the world to speak, the atmosphere was relaxed but interactive and stimulating, and we, as a staff, came away from the experience with a true feeling of success and accomplishment.   We look forward to organizing the second edition of the Intercultural Horizons conference in 2013.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s actually right around the corner.

After some well-deserved rest, we welcomed our first summer students last week.  Some of them will be here for a full two months and others for just one.  Soon we will be welcoming our six-week students.  I will admit that it is a challenge to keep track of everyone during our complicated summer schedule.  The students on the other hand, are already in sync with the local rhythms.  Yesterday evening, we took a moment to relax at the hot springs (Terme di San Giovanni).  Our dip in the pool had the fortunate timing to come to an end just before it started to rain.

Buona Festa Della Repubblica!


Our new flag that, when on display, means that ONLY ITALIAN will be spoken in the office.

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Posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2011 by Mike Manchester

Ciao di nuovo a tutti!

Spring is upon us and this year we can actually tell.  Last year at this time of year we had a freak snowstorm.  I won’t go as far as to say that the sun is the actual property of Tuscany (like one particular American author) however I can say that when it shines, over here, life is good.

This past weekend we made a trip to Pienza to taste some Pecorino cheese.  For those of you who don’t know the word pecora in Italian means sheep.  one certain breed of sheep, originally from Sardegna,  made its way (along with humans) about 50-60 years ago to the Tuscan region.  The Sardinian breed is famous for it’s milk-producing qualities and pecorino originally comes from the island.  There you go!  That’s how we get the word pecorino (or) sheep cheese.

We also visited Adamo Contucci’s wine cellar.  If you’re a fan of Rick Steves, then you may have already seen some information on Moltepulciano’s Contucci winery.  Adamo Contucci has been making wine for 65 years and his family has been doing the same for more than 600 years.  He knows what he’s doing.  His wines are excellent.

Lastly, and probably most important… I must mention our conference that we are organizing.  We at SIS are putting on a huge conference that will take place on may 7th and 8th.  Just go to the homepage to find out more.  We’re all working incredibly hard to make sure that the conference is a success.

The view from Pienza


poster-70-100 click to see our poster for the conference!

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Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 by Mike Manchester

It has been a while since I last posted anything on the SIS blog.  My excuses could be numerous, but in the end there’s always time that could have been used in a more productive way.  The important thing is to actually do productive things rather than just talk about them.  So, here’s the latest news in the SIS world.

First of all, this entry comes on an important day in history.  Today marks the 150th anniversary of that Italy has been… well, Italy!  After Giuseppe Garibaldi and his rather small army of one-thousand men successfully united the fragmented  southern part of the peninsula, on March 17th, 1861 Vittorio Emanuele II was pronounced the king of Italy.

The national holiday comes during our break, so there are currently no students in Siena at the moment.  It’s always rather astonishing to step back for a moment and realize how quickly things seem to go.  Our current students have already stepped over the half-way point of the semester.  Thinking back on all of the semesters that I’ve seen pass by in ten years here, I’m in awe of how many people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and the amount of things that we’ve accomplished together.

This semester we took the group up to the north.  First we stopped in Torino at the Mole Antonelliana, which, today is home to the cinema museum.  From there we headed up to the Valle D’Aosta for a few days.  Some skied or snowboarded while others explored the area.  One day, our hotel organized a snowshoeing adventure near picturesque town of Cogne.  The Valle D’aosta is an interesting region with influences from both Italy as well as France.  Like all of Italy though, one thing that’s a sure bet is the quality of the food.  Probably the most famous product from the area is the fontina cheese.  We tried it and everything else we could.  I brought back a bunch of it to eat at home, but alas, it’s finished.  Now I’m left with nothing but all of this pecorino toscano… poor me!

This semester, like all semesters, is keeping both staff and students very busy.  All of our service activities are in full swing by this point in the semester as well as all of the courses.  An added challenge for SIS staff this semester is make sure the semester is as meaningful and productive as possible while simultaneously focusing on the organization of SIS’s second conference.  We are expecting quite a lot of people from literally all over the world to attend the conference that will address intercultural communication. Our homepage can provide you with info and links regarding the conference.

Here to help us with the conference, we are very lucky to have former president of IPSL and now Senior Fellow of SIS, Nevin Brown.  Nevin is not only working with us in the office, he’s also getting the full SIS experience… from the point of view of a student.   Nevin is taking Italian, living with a family and participating on all of our excursions.  I couldn’t think of  better way to really see SIS from the inseide!

More pics soon!



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